School of Art, Media, and Technology

BFACD Alumni Feature: Hilary Tunstall

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Hilary Tunstall is a designer living and working in New York City. Currently at The Anti-Defamation League’s National Office. She studied Communication Design at Parsons The New School for Design and graduated in 2015. She is excited by print design, coding, UI/UX, typography, biology, Japanese design, 1960’s music, Eastern philosophy and food. Her thoughtful and intelligent approach to design allows her to express her creativity and talent in many different design environments — startups, huge agencies, medium sized firms, non-profit, for-profit, etc. She values vitality, fun, subtlety and simplicity in her work, and personal style.

 

Feminine Landscapes, Sexual Agency Through Abstraction

Hilary’s recent project Feminine Landscapes is a collection of landscapes of women. A photo essay and artists book pertaining to feminism and agency through the female form and abstraction. Visual landscapes are rendered through abstraction of the female form to the point of desexualization. This project was created in response to sexual harassment in order to reclaim sexual agency and autonomy in the face of patriarchal oppression and abuse.

What were your favorite classes at Parsons?

I took a bio-art course with Nurit Bar-Shai and got to experiment with growing bacteria as biological, sustainable alternative printing medium. I loved any classes using Processing and generative design and coding. I also enjoyed design history, especially the Japanese and Indian art history courses I took with Eve Eisenstadt. These classes greatly influenced my creative process.

Part of the photo essay

What did you wish you knew as a student that you know now?

Work as hard as you can and collaborate with people doing work in completely different fields. The best advice I received from a professor is “Even if you don’t know how to do something, say that you know how and figure it out as you go.” This competitive and optimistic approach to challenges has landed me many opportunities and room for creative growth

Part of the photo essay

Who do you look up to in the design community?

I look up to perseverant, intelligent female designers whose confidence and skill I hope to emulate: Rei Kawakubo for example is one of the savviest, coolest women out there. Otherwise I am inspired heavily by primarily Japanese design. Yohji Yamamoto, Daido Moriyama, Nobuyoshi Araki, and On Kawara have changed how I look at the world, and design.

Part of the photo essay

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Working in Civil Rights through a tumultuous political time when marginalized people need advocacy more than ever. My design is very conscience-driven.

Establishing my design studio Dyad Dyad both here in New York as well as a small presence in Tokyo with my fellow Parsons graduate, Tiffany Chen as my partner. This is definitely my greatest success and my proudest endeavour.

 

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